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National Study of Health and Wellbeing

Also known as the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, this survey runs every 7 years. Find out more about the survey.

About the survey

The National Study of Health and Wellbeing, also known as the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS), runs every 7 years. Since 1993, it's been finding out how everyday stresses, strains and joys affect the health of people living in England.

The 2023 survey will be the 5th in this series of surveys and aims to interview around 8,000 adults aged 16 and over from across England. The survey findings will inform and improve local and national planning for health and support services.


New for APMS 2023

Update on Ethnic Minority Boost (EMB)

The APMS survey aims to be inclusive and a true representation of the many diverse communities within the UK. To aid in this requirement, a 6-category ethnic minority sample boost was conducted supporting the main survey. The goal was to provide an evidence base to inform planning and design of mental health services for ethnic minority groups.

Despite the best efforts to promote the survey, performance of the EMB has been below expectation. The projected volume of interviews achieved by the survey’s closure would not of had a meaningful impact on the APMS survey. 

In collaboration with the APMS steering group, it was decided that continuing EMB in its current form would not have been good use of public funds.

The decision has been made to suspend ethnic minority boost pending a review on the methodology used. The Boost will not be delivered as part of the 2023 survey. This has been a hard decision to make but stopping the EMB is the right thing if it is not going to deliver as intended.

Deprivation boost

As with the ethnic minority boost, this is an addition to the 2023 survey. Previous surveys have shown that people from more deprived areas are more likely to have certain mental health problems. Therefore, increasing the numbers of participants from deprived areas will enable more in-depth analysis and provide more detailed data to enable the analysis of health inequalities by area deprivation.

Eating disorders

The 2023 survey will also cover questions around eating disorders, which were last collected in APMS 2007. For the first time eating disorders will also be investigated as part of the Phase 2 survey which is led by the University of Leicester. Inclusion in phase 2 will allow prevalence figures for eating disorders to be reported.


Publication series

The APMS publication series includes links to the latest report and all previous APMS reports published by NHS England.

The report from the 2000 survey is available in the Office for National Statistics archive.


Why we do this survey

Data from this survey helps doctors and other health professionals get a clearer picture of the nation's health and wellbeing. It gives them the information to make the right choices for the future. The survey findings provide detailed information and analyses on the prevalence of both treated and untreated psychiatric disorders in the adult population (aged 16 and over).

Organisations using the survey data include central government departments and local government, as well as researchers and third-sector organisations. Data is used in policy development, in planning services and in monitoring trends and changes in the nation's health and wellbeing.

Examples of how data from the survey has been used include:

  • informing the development of the government's 'No Health Without Mental Health' mental health strategy
  • development of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme
  • informing national policy, including the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and the Department of Health's responding effectively to violence and abuse and approach to autism policies

User consultation

A user consultation took place in 2021 for the context of the next National Study of Health and Wellbeing and the results have now been published

The consultation builds on a previous one carried out by NHS Digital in 2016. The findings were published in our survey consultation report. You can also read about the details of the 2016 consultation


Managing the survey

The 2023 survey will be carried out by NatCen Social Research and the University of Leicester on behalf of NHS England. It is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.


Survey review

The 2014 survey was reviewed by an independent Research Ethics Committee, to protect the safety, rights, wellbeing and dignity of those taking part. The Survey of Health and Wellbeing for 2014 was given a favourable opinion by the West London REC (Reference no 14/LO/0411).


Participants

Participants are chosen by selecting addresses in England at random, which means that every address in England has an equal chance of being included in the survey. This ensures that we get a truly representative picture of everyone living in England.


What the survey involves

If you are chosen to take part you will receive a letter addressed to your household inviting you to take part in the survey. An interviewer will call at your home to arrange an interview at a time that suits you. The interview itself is relaxed. There's nothing to prepare and you can skip any questions you don't want to answer.

If you do not want to take part in the survey, this is fine, you can contact us when you receive the letter to let us know, or when the interviewer calls you can let them know.


Data collected

The survey includes information on:

  • wellbeing
  • disability
  • physical health
  • pain
  • lifestyle behaviours
  • work and stress
  • life events 

Confidentiality

The answers

The answers from the questionnaire are put together with the answers collected from thousands of other people across England and the survey findings are published as part of the APMS publication series. The findings will not identify anyone who took part in the survey. 

Those who take part in the survey will never receive any junk mail as a result of speaking to us. We never pass on respondents' details to other organisations for commercial purposes.


Survey datasets

Data collected by the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity survey will be held by NatCen Social Research and NHS England.

The anonymised Adult Psychiatric Morbidity survey datasets can be accessed via the UK Data Service. Strict measures are in place regarding who can access the data and users will need to agree to the licence conditions about use. Researchers interested in accessing the datasets will need to register with UK Data Service in the first instance. For more information about the additional restrictions applied to each survey year dataset please visit the DARS Population Health Surveys.  

We may also share more detailed data with approved researchers under a Data Sharing Agreement, following our independent scrutiny process for external data releases. This information will be used for statistical and research purposes only and individuals will not be identified.


The APMS steering group

The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey has a steering group which has steered the design, development, implementation, and delivery of the survey.

Find out more about the steering group, including its current members.


Autism statistics

The autism statistics in  the 2014 publication were labelled as experimental. This was to allow for further work to be undertaken to get wider assurance on whether these statistics meet the overall quality standards necessary for the Office for Statistics Regulation to designate them as national statistics.

For 2023, the statistics will be assessed to ensure they are fit for purpose, based on good data and that robust statistical methodology has been used in their development. The review will also explore existing administrative data and whether these might be of use in the production, development or validation of the autism estimates.


Contact us

You can contact [email protected] for any questions about the APMS survey.


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Further information

Last edited: 22 November 2023 2:24 pm